Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cumberland Falls near Corbin, Kentucky

The waterfall is known as the "Niagra of the south" because the 125 foot curved waterfall is special day or night. Yet, it is only at night during a full moon that you can see a moonbow over the falls. It is the only place in the western hemisphere where such a phenomenon exists.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Who is God?", Part III: God is our Guide

Focus text: Isaiah Acts 16:1-15
Life is a journey and we often don’t know where to go or where to find answers. We get frustrated when we hit one dead end after another. We need a guide and God is the perfect one to guide us. He knows what is ahead and has the wisdom to help us maximize opportunities and avoid disasters. He helps us cast aside things that will not be beneficial and find the paths that will bring us joy as we change our world.

Read Acts 16:1-15 and see the following ways that God is our guide in life.

  • God keeps us from some paths (v.6).
After visiting churches on his second missionary journey, it only made sense for Paul to move west, but God closes the door. There are times when God tells us what we want to do is not best for us. He doesn’t let us have the job we want or give us success when we think it is time to start a family. We feel like a failure, but sometimes it is just God telling us that it isn’t the right time.

  • God sometimes invites us to something we never dreamed could happen to us (v.9).
When the door closed in Asia, God invited Paul to come to Greece where people were ready to hear the gospel. God may have another job or ministry for you to do. He knows what suits you or when a great opportunity is at hand. God will guide us to the place that is best for us if we are willing to listen.

  • Being open to what God wants is the key (v.13).
Paul is led to a city with few Jews and seemingly few prospects. The group Paul meets will become the core of the Philippian church who will support his ministry for years. As we are open to the Lord, He will give us great opportunities that we could have never dreamed of. We just have to trust God and courageously use the breaks we receive. 

We thank the Lord when He agrees with our vision. Do we thank God when He takes us another way? With God as my GPS (God’s plans and solutions), I will always get to the place of ministry where I can serve the best and that is suited to my gifts. I can start with prayer and find out what God wants me to do each day. The alternative for me is to wander through life hoping that I stumble on just the right thing.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"The Miracles of Jesus", Part II: Desperate to Daughter

Focus passage: Mark 5:25-34


We bow our head in anguish. We are desperate and nothing is turning out right. Life seems overwhelmed with problems that just don’t seem to have any answers. 

Illness, job loss, and divorce break us till we despair that life might as well be over. We are angry with the world and can be angry with God. This shouldn’t happen to me. Why is it so easy for everyone else and so hard for me? We can live in our self-pity or we can turn to the Lord. Desperation is like the desert. The heat of life takes away all your strength. You can either turn toward God letting Him guide you through your troubles or you can turn from him and wander till the troubles dry up your soul. Jesus wants to turn the "desperate" into "daughters and sons" of God. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

"32 Days with Abraham", Chapter 6: Who Controls Your Fate?

Text: Genesis 14: 1-13

Your friends determine your fate. If you don’t believe it, look at your kids. The friends that your children choose determine their future. Let a child get in with the wrong group and you will have nothing but trouble. Let a child make friends in a good sports or music program where they are around well behaved children and they often stay out of trouble. It really is no different for adults. Adults who frequent the bars or hang around with people who have trouble holding down a job will be pulled down by their friends. Adults who spend a lot of time around strong Christians or have a set of friends with strong morals will be pulled up by these friends. Who you spend your life with will determine your fate. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lincoln's Home

Springfield, Illinois

History comes alive as you walk in the steps of Abe Lincoln. His home shows that the backwoods railsplitter had become a prosperous and influential lawyer in the Illinois capital city. The home will take you back to the day when Lincoln left Springfield to become our 16th president.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Who is God?", Part II: God is the Comforter

Focus text: Isaiah 40:1-11

We all need someone to care for us and console us. No one escapes trouble, but it is a joy to have a God who will be at our side to care for us when trouble comes. When good King Hezekiah died, the nation began a 100 year fall that ended in the Babylonian captivity. Things did not look good and would not get better soon. Yet, God calls on His servant to help them and give people the comfort that they and we often need. 

Read Isaiah 40:1-11 and notice four ways that God will comfort His people

  • A comforter does not forsake His people. (v.2) God must allow bad things to happen to His people when they sin, but He will return to them when they have repented. God’s people will suffer the fate of the nation that they live in. When Israel or America forgets its God, you can bet that things will get rough. Christians are not exempt from the suffering, but they can look to God for hope.

  • A comforter gives them help to make life easier (v.4). In the midst of suffering, God promised that He would be there to help. He put King Cyrus in place to free the Jews and God still gives us people to help us as we rebuild our lives. God works behind the scenes to help people when they face tough times so that they can have success in their ministry and their life. 

  • A comforter keeps his promises (v.8). Grass withers and flowers fail, but we can take comfort that the promises of God will always be kept. God promised that He would send a Messiah and Jesus came to die on the cross. God’s promises are meant to give us hope and comfort that the future is in His hands. The world may fall apart around us, but not one of God’s promises will fail.  

  • A comforter keeps His people close to Him. (v.11) Our Lord cares for us when we find ourselves hurting and in trouble. He provides resources when we are struggling. The comforter is one who is close to his people and who picks up his people and holds them close like a parent cares for their children. We may feel defenseless, but God will stay at our side and protect us.

The Jews were in for a rough time. Judah still had 100 years of trouble before Jerusalem would fall, then 70 years of exile and 100 years before Nehemiah would rebuild the walls. God would be with them through it all. We often think that if we work harder or smarter that we can overcome the barriers of life. Comfort does not come in working harder or smarter, but by spending time with the Lord. Let Him calm your fears in prayer. Let Him organize your thoughts as you read His wisdom in scripture. Next Tuesday, we will look at God the guide in life and see what a real GPS can do. 


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Arches National Park

Set near Moab Utah, this park boasts over 2000 arches. My favorite was the hike to Delicate Arch (lower right corner) where you felt at the top of the world. Be careful, the arch sits on a sliver of rock with sheer drop offs on both sides.  


"The Miracles of Jesus", Part I: Giving A Greater Gift

Focus Passage: Mark 2:1-12

Jesus had traveled the countryside healing people of various diseases and casting out demons. The people had pushed and shoved to be with Him in the house because they wanted to see this miracle worker.

Yet, there was a greater need than just healing bodies wracked with pain.
He had come to heal the soul with His message.

When a group broke into the house, Jesus had a chance to do more than just heal the body. Let’s read Mark 2:1-12 to see exactly what happened.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"32 Days with Abraham", Chapter 4: Humble Choices

Text: Genesis 13: 1-13

Money can wreck a family.

I have watched children fight over their parent’s inheritance even before the funeral is over.
I have seen husbands and wives fight over the checkbook.
All of us have seen a child pout when he can’t have a toy he saw on television or in the store.

It is all about selfishness.
We don’t care who gets slighted as long as we get what we want.

When Christians have disputes like that, the reputation of the Lord suffers. The outside world looks at those families and wonders